I browsed a roadside thrift shop the other day. Its basically a cinderblock four-car garage stacked wall to wall with….junk. Old furniture, books, ornaments, paintings, sporting goods, electronics, you name it. It’s shopping’s version of the treasure hunt, never knowing what you might find. In this case, I found a few old fishing items I thought I’d share.
Amongst some old ski poles, pool sticks and an ancient looking pair of ice skates stood a collection of old fishing rods in various stages of decay and disrepair, some with bobbers and line still attached that clearly hadn’t been cast in decades. I examined them for brand names I may recognize as classic or deceased, just in case I was staring at a collectors item, and concluded there was not much more than junk here. None the less, it makes you wonder who owned them, and what kind of fish they caught, and where. More, it makes me wonder who decided to give away all of their fishing gear, and why. Maybe it wasn’t the original owners choice at all. Maybe they were just clutter in someones garage; remnants of people long gone.
My favorite find were these fishing publications from the 60’s. Sports Afield, complete with hand drawn covers of fisherman in row boats or standing alongshore, a nod to a time before there digital cameras and fisherman covered in sponsorship badges making them look not unlike Nascar drivers, and standing in $40,000 boats and holding $700 rods. The bold tagline on it the cover was optimistic: “The Best Ideas on Fishing Ever Assembled in any Magazine!’ The back cover was for cigarettes, promoting how this particular brand would make you stand out in a social crowd.
Another copy from the 70’s showed an older man in jeans and a button down shirt and the obligatory fishing hat, standing in a beat up old boat and holding a three-foot pike. A sub line promises an extensive article on wilderness trout, of which there had to have been many more of than there are today, and the opportunity to order, from Sports Afield, a kit that would allow fisherman to test for acid rain.